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Unprecedented Dual World Cup Finals Awarded to Las Vegas in 2005 Two of World’s Most Prestigious and Glamorous Equine Events Will Crown 2005 World Cup Champions in Show Jumping and Dressage

by Ben Sledge | May 22, 2004, 12:00 AM

Two of the world’s most prestigious and glamorous equine events are coming to the United States in 2005! For the first time ever in international competition, two World Cup Championship events will be held concurrently in one location, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 20-24, 2005.

The 2005 World Cup Champions in both jumping and dressage will be crowned in Las Vegas.

Following its previous hosting of two World Cup Jumping finals, the highly-acclaimed Budweiser World Cups in 2000 and 2003, Las Vegas Events, Inc. has secured the rights from the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to also bring the Dressage World Cup Final to the United States for the first time since 1995 and to hold it jointly with the Budweiser Jumping World Cup Final.

“We were thrilled with the reaction of the show jumping world to our presentations of the 2000 and 2003 World Cup Finals,” said Robert Maxey, Chairman of the Las Vegas World Cup Organizing Committee. “We have heard repeatedly that we have had a major impact on the way show jumping is now being presented in the U.S. and it is our hope that we can also have a positive impact on the future of dressage with the way we plan to present the sport.”

“Las Vegas has very ambitious plans for staging the joint World Cups,” said Pat Christenson, President of Las Vegas Events, Inc. “Following what we accomplished in 2000 and 2003, Las Vegas Events, Inc. intends to present both Finals with the kind of flair for which we have become known in producing major successes like the National Finals Rodeo.”

“We are very excited that the World Cup is returning to Las Vegas,” said John Long, Chief Executive Officer of The United States Equestrian Federation (USEF). “Equestrian sport in the United States is on the upswing. With the ratings success of the first NBC telecast of the Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event at the end of April, it’s clear there are tremendous possibilities for our sport if we all work together. The USEF will continue to partner with Las Vegas Events, Inc. to aggressively market and promote this event.”

Riding the rating success of equestrian sports and the 2004 Rolex Kentucky Three-Day Event, NBC will televise the 2005 World Cup Jumping Finals.

“We are very excited about combining two World Cup disciplines, jumping and dressage,” said Dr. Bo Helander, Secretary General of the International Equestrian Federation (FEI). “This has never been done before but we feel that Las Vegas is the ideal place to showcase these two world class events. Las Vegas always puts on a first-class event that the riders and fans truly enjoy.”

Started in 1979, the Show Jumping World Cup Final is an annual international showdown among the world’s best show jumping horses and riders. Approximately 45 riders qualify from 13 leagues around the world. In the 26 finals held through 2004, United States riders have emerged with the most titles, having won the championship seven times.

This will mark the sixth Show Jumping World Cup Final to be held in the United States, following Finals in Baltimore in 1980, Tampa in 1989, Del Mar, CA in 1992 and the two in Las Vegas in 2000 and 2003.

First held in 1986, the Dressage World Cup Final has been held in the U.S. only once, in 1995 in Los Angeles. Germany and The Netherlands have dominated the competition, winning six titles each through 2004. The United States won its first title in 2003 when Debbie McDonald of Hailey, Idaho and the magnificent mare, Brentina, emerged as champions. Brentina is owned by Parry and Peggy Thomas of Las Vegas, for whom the Thomas & Mack Center, the venue for the World Cup Finals, is named.

The return of the Dressage Final to the United States is sure to provide a huge boost to the sport, just as the hosting of the Jumping Final in Las Vegas in 2000 helped increase that discipline’s popularity.